Story Summary

Life after Sandy

Superstorm Sandy devastated coastal regions across the tri-state area, killing dozens and setting off a crisis that crippled transportation, the oil supply and the electrical grid. The region’s recovery from the storm has been slow and difficult.

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BROOKHAVEN (PIX11) - Dozens of homes along the water on Fire Island may need to be demolished or moved to be rebuilt on other plots of land if a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers is approved.
The reason is to rebuild essential dunes on the barrier island that eroded over time, but were also destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

Those very barriers acted as protection to communities along the South Shore of Long Island.

“I think the signs are pretty clear right now. Sea levels will rise and it will rise pretty dramatically in a lot of locations and we just need to be ready for it,” said Joseph Vietri, Director of of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Center for Coastal and Storm Risk Management.

44 homes in total on Fire Island are at risk with the new plan.  Thirty-nine of those homes, the majority, fall under the town of Brookhaven’s jurisdiction. While a homeowner will still have the right of refusal Town Supervisor Ed Romaine believes Superstorm Sandy proved the move is necessary, as will be a secondary phase to the Army Corps plans, which includes raising several hundred homes in a number of South Shore communities.

“I think Sandy served as a wake up call and it gave us all a glimpse into our collective future,” said Vietri.

The plan will still needs to pass through several levels of approval, but once it does the demolition and raising of homes is expected to begin by the winter.  The project will cost $700 million, which will come from federal money approved from the Sandy bill. $500 million alone will be dedicated to the raising of homes.

LONG BEACH (PIX11) – It is going to be a big weekend on the shores of Long Beach, Long Island.

For the first time since Superstorm Sandy, a portion of the two-mile boardwalk will reopen to the public.


The new Long Beach boardwalk (Keith Lopez/PIX11)

Long Beach was no doubt one of the hardest hit areas of Long Island.  Thirty-three thousand people live here and immediately after the storm not one person had water or power.  That is because the storm surge came on strong, flooding almost every street in the seaside community.

Almost nine months since the storm, this community has no doubt banded together to come back stronger than before — another example of resiliency that we have seen across our area.

Seventy-five percent of the businesses wiped away have reopened while 80 percent of the homes have been rebuilt.   Now, on Saturday morning, a four-block stretch of the historic boardwalk will reopen to the public.  It is a project that is costing $44 million and will be completed by November.

The message from the city manager is  simple:  Long Beach is open, the boardwalk is back so come on down.

For the first time since Hurricane Sandy, students at Union Beach Memorial in New Jersey were able to sit at their own desks.

Union Beach was hard hit by the storm; it displaced more than 700 students from pre-k to 8th grade.

They had to bus to other schools. Now, Union Beach Memorial is back up and running. The building has been repaired after it was flooded with three feet of water.

The conditions were so bad that the sheet rock had to be ripped out. The teachers and students are happy to be back in their own building.

They’ll finish out the rest of the school year there as well. It ends on June 27.

ARVERNE, Queens (PIX11) – Myrna Ruiz still breaks down in tears just talking about what hurricane Sandy left behind and the lack of help she has gotten so far.

Ruiz said ” we need help, this is not how we are use to living.”

Her basement is completely damaged and she has no money to fix it. FEMA has sent her and neighbors a check but they need more.

Ruiz tells us about $80,000 more to fix her home and her next door neighbor Dianne Lopez needs about $20,000.

Lopez’s home faces Jamaica Bay, when Sandy hit the water came up to the second floor of her house.

Lopez said” my basement was destroyed, water came in the house and it’s really hard when have just been left behind.”

With hurricane season starting on Saturday, these homeowners say they are sitting ducks if another storm comes.

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Tuesday’s deadline for Sandy victims to get evicted from temporary hotel housing has been extended.

The new deadline has been set for May 31st.

The New York communities for change has been working and assisting about fifty families.

Last week the families protested the deadline in front of the city’s Department of Homeless Services offices in lower Manhattan.

LONG ISLAND (PIX11) – In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, residents of the tri-state area grappled with the loss of loved ones and an estimated $100 billion in damages to the region.

This week, PIX11 News continues its live coverage of the areas hit hardest by Sandy with “PIX11 CARES” segments. Beginning Monday, April 29 and running through Friday, May 3, PIX11 Morning News will return to the neighborhoods that the station visited immediately after Sandy to see how the communities have recovered and what help is still needed.

Check out some highlights from Tuesday:

The return of the boardwalk at Long Beach City

Jones Beach on track to reopen in time for summer

How Facebook is helping Long Beach residents get back on their feet post-Sandy

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, residents of the Tri-State area grappled with the loss of loved ones and an estimated $100 billion in damages to the region. This week, PIX11 News continues its live coverage of the areas hit hardest by Sandy with “PIX11 CARES” segments. Beginning Monday, April 29 and running through Friday, May 3, PIX11 Morning News will return to the neighborhoods that the station visited immediately after Sandy to see how the communities have recovered and what help is still needed.


 As the recovery from the destructive impact of Sandy continues, PIX11 will talk to politicians, community leaders, and organizations that have been helping restore and rebuild their neighborhoods. PIX11 News will visit Queens (the Rockaways,) Staten Island (New Dorp Beach,) New Jersey (Union Beach and Sea Bright,) and Long Island (Long Beach and Jones Beach.)

 PIX11 Morning News anchors Sukanya Krishnan and Frances Rivera and reporter Dan Mannarino will broadcast live from within the communities from 6-9am.


 PIX11 News at 5 will air personal stories of storm survivors, revisit families we met six months ago to see how they’ve rebuilt and what still needs to be done for them to get their lives back together. PIX11 News at Ten segments will visit the hardest hit areas and examine how these communities are faring today as they prepare for the summer season.


 “Our top priority as a local broadcast station is to serve our community and we feel it is vital to provide continued support to those still struggling in the aftermath of Sandy,” said Eric Meyrowitz, PIX11 Vice President/General Manager.

It’s time to say farewell to the Jet Setter roller coaster.

The ride that was swept into the Atlantic Ocean from Casino Pier is Seaside Heights is finally being removed.

“Yes, we have hired Weeks Marine of Cranford, NJ to begin the demolition process,” said Maria Mastoris, spokesperson for Casino Pier.

This after nearly six months of sitting in the ocean.

“In two weeks or so they’ll start the process. They’ll survey and see what the best options are. The coaster will likely come out piece by piece. It should be a 24 hour a day, seven day a week job,” Mastoris said.

Around the clock work is already underway.  When Hurricane Sandy came ashore in October, the storm surge washed away the boardwalk and the entire upper deck of the pier that was home to over a dozen rides. Mastoris said crews are replacing boards and putting in pylons daily. And in addition to pulling down the coaster from the surf, the crews will take out five others.


The pier before Sandy destroyed it.

“The log flume, the roller coaster, our haunted house and another structure that served as our storage unit.”

Casino Pier declined to say how much the removal would cost only that it is expected to be complete by Memorial Day. Though, the majority of the rides will not be back this season.

“I hope it comes back, I really do,” said Chris Angelo.

BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Some Coney Island residents can’t seem to catch a break. First Superstorm Sandy turned their world upside down and now they say the noise from around the clock repairs on the boardwalk is making it impossible to sleep.

The machinery that is causing all of the anger is huge pile driver that is planting concrete piles into the sand. Glenn Kessler lives in a building just feet from the construction.

“At 5 o’clock in the morning the pile driving began.  I was literally bounced out of bed,” Kessler told PIX11.

They are working 24/7 to repair the boardwalk, lifeguard stations and bathrooms damaged by Sandy in time for the summer beach season. But with a cold winter and early spring, the window for the repairs is short.  And that’s causing the problems.

The 24/7  around the clock schedule means bright lights, vibration, and noise when people are trying to sleep.  Because he lives so close, Kessler say he feels every pound of the machine.

“My apartment building is approximately 500 feet from the pile driver so the vibrations are felt throughout the building.  I thought the world was ending.  It sounded worst than Sandy and I was here during the storm.”

Some say the inconvenience is not worth it to build bathrooms and lifeguard stations.  But others feel the work is a positive sign the area is bouncing back.

The Parks Department says part of this is the Sandy rebuild and they have to get ready for the summer season.  They stress you can’t have millions of people on the beach and no restrooms.

Commuters are smiling in Lower Manhattan as service is restored at South Ferry Subway Station for the first time since Super Storm Sandy.

Acting MTA chief Fernando Ferrer was on hand with a delegation to greet commuters on a cold Thursday morning saying “It’s good.  It means people don’t have to walk a half mile from the ferry to the next stop.”

The reopening of the South Ferry Station some 5 months after the storm plugs a gap in the subway system.  It restores the final stop on the Number 1 train and a critical connection for Staten Island Ferry riders. Commuters on the first few trains said they were pleased to once again have seamless service between the subway and the Staten Island Ferry.

Deborah Shands says she and her two kids use the train from 125th Street to get to the ferry on their way to school on Staten Island. She says the stop helps her commute” It’s improved a lot because it was hard for the kids because they had to get up early and walk. Sometimes I had to carry my daughter because she would get tired.”

Reopening the 108 year old station became necessary after the new hub that was opened in 2009 and cost more than $500 million dollars to build was devastated by Sandy.   It may take years before repairs are complete and it reopens, and it could cost up to $600 million dollars.  In the meantime the M.T.A. has been hard at work opening the old stop that was shut down four years ago.

There are some problems.   The M.T.A. will have to go back to the so called five car rule, meaning riders exiting at the station will have to leave through the first five cars of the train because the platform is not long enough to to accommodate 10 car trains. In recent months the M.T.A. has made improvements including the installation of a new entrance , lighting and a closed circuit television system to make it easier for crews to see trains on the curved track.